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Microsoft licenses Adobe's Flash Lite: The motives in a nutshell

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, a mobile version of Flash Player, along with Reader LE. As part of the deal OEMs that license Windows Mobile will get Adobe's mobile Flash and Reader.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Microsoft has licensed Adobe Flash Lite, a mobile version of Flash Player, along with Reader LE. As part of the deal OEMs that license Windows Mobile will get Adobe's mobile Flash and Reader.

In a statement (Techmeme, Andy Plesser's video demo), the companies said Microsoft's licensing of Adobe's Flash Lite will provide a "vibrant" Web experience, but let's cut to the chase. Why is there a licensing deal when Microsoft has Silverlight, a Flash rival?

Here's a look at the motives:

  • Microsoft's Silverlight (all resources) isn't ready for mobile use so the software giant has to do something to make Windows Mobile more capable of delivering rich media.
  • Microsoft can license Flash Lite and learn about making Silverlight mobile friendly for future use. Call it license and learn.
  • Adobe wants to make Flash Lite appear relevant after Apple CEO Steve Jobs threw the software under the bus. It's a bit strange that Adobe is on the defensive when Flash Lite is on 500 million mobile devices, but incorporating Flash into the iPhone is a critical if not pressing need.

In other words, this licensing pact is a merger of convenience that will be irrelevant years from now.

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